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Potomac Journey: Fairfax Stone to Tidewater

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The Potomac River has been a determining force in America's history and economic development, a catalyst for the country's environmental awakening, and an inspiration to recreational life in the mid-Atlantic states. Having canoed more than 9,000 miles on the Potomac and its tributaries, Richard Stanton offers a unique account of the nation's river and its environs. Stanton celebrates the Potomac in words and in previously unpublished historical photographs from Fairfax Stone in West Virginia, the so-called first ...
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Overview

The Potomac River has been a determining force in America's history and economic development, a catalyst for the country's environmental awakening, and an inspiration to recreational life in the mid-Atlantic states. Having canoed more than 9,000 miles on the Potomac and its tributaries, Richard Stanton offers a unique account of the nation's river and its environs. Stanton celebrates the Potomac in words and in previously unpublished historical photographs from Fairfax Stone in West Virginia, the so-called first fountain, to Georgetown. Through the stories of a nineteenth-century boatman, old photo albums, and interviews with area residents, Stanton recreates life on the Potomac River in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He describes with great care early runs down the river, George Washington's attempt to build bypasses around falls and rapids, the building of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal with its colorful heyday and gradual decline, and the political debates over exploiting or preserving the river's wealth. Commenting on recent conservation efforts, Stanton traces the dramatic preservation campaign of the 1950s to save the canal from becoming a paved thoroughfare, recounts the severe floods over the past century and their effect on this national parkland, and documents the massive clean-up efforts to reverse the river's serious pollution problems. Stanton highlights natural and historical sites along the Potomac and offers practical advice based on firsthand experience to river travelers. Anglers, backpackers, bicyclists, birdwatchers, canoeists, history buffs, and armchair travelers will delight in Potomac Journey and gain from it a new respect for the fragile beauty and powerful force of this river.

Stanton celebrates the Potomac in words and in previously unpublished historical photos. Through the recollections of a 19th-century boatman, old photo albums, and interviews with area residents, Stanton recreates life on the Potomac River in the 18th and 19th centuries. 54 photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The journey that Stanton, a native Washingtonian and retired National Park Service professional, describes here is actually the history and evolution of our capital's major waterway rather than an account of one particular journey. The author grew up along the Potomac and harbors a tremendous feeling for the river. In the preface especially, where Stanton briefly describes the Potomac's impact on his youth, and in the second chapter, ``Running the River,'' in which he illuminates one of his canoe trips, the reader can truly appreciate the author's affinity for this river. While the rest of the book is a testimony to Stanton's impressive knowledge of the Potomac and significant events and issues related to it (early life, canal developments, flooding, and conservation efforts), its major value is as a historical and local history resource. As such, it will mainly interest historians, natives of the area, and possibly those interested in waterways. Photos not seen.-- Elizabeth Loftus, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse, N.Y.
School Library Journal
YA-An experienced canoeist who clocked the majority of his 9,000 plus miles on the Potomac and its tributaries tells the story of the river historically and environmentally. Nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, paddlers, and historians will enjoy the 382-mile journey from Fairfax Stone, West Virginia, to the Chesapeake Bay.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560986607
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Series: American Studies
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.61 (w) x 8.69 (h) x 0.62 (d)

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